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ABFA head assures members that ‘elections will come’ as opponents raise questions over lengthy delay

By Neto Baptiste

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton Gonsalves, has sought to reassure clubs and stakeholders that the body’s electoral congress, which was due earlier this year, will take place in due course.

Speaking on the Connecting with Dave Lester Payne talk show on Wednesday, Gonsalves hit back at suggestions that the vote, which was constitutionally due in March, could take place at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground which has been pre-approved by the health authorities to host large gatherings.

“We are operating in adherence to our Constitution and FIFA’s monitoring and I can tell you that there is nothing devilish in the details. Elections will come but at the right time, respecting the protocols of the country and ensuring that we have a safe, free and fair elections,” he said.

“We are hearing — and it makes us very uncomfortable — about the rising cases; we are hearing about this new strain; we are hearing that kids may not be out in the clear as previously thought, and so those are the things that a caring administration and a caring leader like myself would take into consideration before you delve in just because people are anxious to have elections,” he added.

The former national striker also reacted to a decision by intended challenger Barbara Coates to abandon her plans of writing to both FIFA and CONCACAF over the alleged unconstitutional appointments of technical director Sowerby Gomes and referee department head Kelesha Antoine.

“I wonder if it is a situation where they lied and they told the clubs they had written to CONCACAF and FIFA in relation to the legality of the appointments? They were cunning enough to get back and say that the two persons are absolutely qualified and proven, but they are of the opinion that the decision did not take place in accordance with the Constitution, and I believe that when they would have done their homework and recognised that they have no legs to stand on, they are now withdrawing and blaming the poor clubs,” he said.

FIFA, in April, had written to the ABFA reminding the body that its Constitution does not allow for the hosting of virtual elections. The ABFA vote was constitutionally due in March, but the government’s restriction on large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic does not allow for the hosting of a physical meeting.

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